Thursday, 26 February 2009

Learning Day 1 : Faith

Around this last weekend - the joint birthday of Knitwear Massive 1 and 2 i.e. Commander Loggington and Big Dave, which aside from climbing was characterised mostly by a short sharp burst of gayflu and a jolly jaunt out canoeing on the Tyne - I've managed to do a fair amount of climbing. Not just climbing but enjoyable and inspiring climbing (albeit mostly bouldering but even that's....okay). Obviously with the various injuries climbing has been a bit of an "issue" recently, however I've realised I am still learning stuff (particularly about movement and positioning), and still progressing, albeit in a more sideways way. Anyway recently I've managed to put some of this into practise:

Day 1, Lesson 1: Faith.

Above is the Drake Stone, a singular and somewhat exciting lump in the depths of Northumberland. Previously I'd been for a look and been inspired by a bold wall climb on the front right face, now I had the opportunity to go back and give it a try. Having been firmly in "Confessions Of A Bouldering Punter" mode for several months, I was quite unsure about pushing myself on lead again.

Unsure, out of practise, tired, suffering from gay flu, put off by the icy breeze... But I still had one of the two main weapons in my arsenal with me: Determination (the other main weapon being Uncanny Ability To Downclimb Back To Rests). Determination born of inspiration and a desire to give it a try. So I did, warmed up, cooled down, warmed up, etc etc. Fiddled in some pro, downclimbed, mused. Then got on with it, committed to moves above uncertain protection (decent gear at 1/3 height, shallow untested tri-cam at 1/2 height, crux right at the top). Committed, scared, unable to reverse, windswept, fingers going cold. What can one do in this situation except....learn?? Learn that I wasn't getting that pumped, so I had a bit of time, learn that I could use that time to calm down, learn that once calmer I could try the move, learn that I'd done enough puntering around recently to have a buffer of technique so it wasn't that hard, work it out in two plays, have faith and do it...

The trickiest route I'd done in a while (and a really nice little route, great climbing), and reassuring lesson about my abilities.

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